Tap-Speak: Before it Blends


New-Tapper, reporting in.  I’m surprised I haven’t written on this particular subject before, as it applies to my personal dancing experience.  It can also apply to life in general.  So, yes, this is a journal entry on my Tap lesson yesterday.  But, it’s more or less the reflections of a very impatient dancer.

It’s odd.  Both my ballet and tap classes are classified as Beginner/Intermediate.  I figured that for ballet, as a solid beginner, it would challenge me.  For tap, I hoped that the teacher would add some beginner’s steps along with the obligatory breakdown for said steps.  The shuffle, for instance.  It was the complete opposite.  Ballet was, I cannot believe I am about to say this, easy.  There was nothing remotely frustrating about it, aside from the large class and lack of space.  Tap, man, there’s a hard dance.  Monday’s class didn’t feel at all like beginner.  It was almost all amalgamation with no breakdown of steps whatsoever.  So, I was stuck in the middle line trying my best to follow her feet.  I got some, and I flopped some.  Same as last Monday.  It was frustrating because the way I learn my steps is broken down step-by-step.  It was even more irking when she was trying to teach technique when I hadn’t even gotten the slightest grasp of the steps.  Ballroom has taught me this: Steps first; technique later.  As per a family member’s advice, I’ll look on YouTube for some basic tap steps broken down step-by-step.

Now, to reflect.  It’s a really glaring character flaw on my part that I get frustrated easily, especially when it comes to learning new things.  It’s not just dance.  It could be a school subject, a video game, or anything that obviously requires practice to master.  Ballroom, however, was a notable exception.  Anyway, whenever I learn or start something new, the initial days and weeks seem to creep by so slowly.  It’s as if the universe wants you to feel the pain of newness.  A great non-dance example of this would be when a new school year starts.  Eventually, the weeks and months blur, and before you know it, the school year is over.  Well, this temporal transition of agonizingly slow to mind-blowing quickness has occurred not only with school, but in every dance genre I’ve participated in.  That includes ballroom.  I think this is where newbies, of any kind, are most vulnerable.  Time seems to travel so achingly slow that it seems like no progress is made.  In reality, most progress is made when you’re newer, as you’re building foundations, learning new steps, etc.  The more experienced people still make progress, but it’s much more minimal.  I’m currently in this phase with ballroom, which is why I love learning its technical aspects.

So, I have defined two periods existing within overall progression.  “Pre-blend” is the slow-as-molasses period of time where the most progress is made as the core things of whatever one happens to be doing are presented to the student for examination.  “Blend” is a feeling of temporal equilibrium, and the subject becomes less about learning new things, and more about practicing.  These definitions mainly apply to dance and may have to be tweaked to apply to other life situations.  In both ballroom and ballet, I’ve reached my “blend” period.  Before I advance and go on to learn new things, I have to practice.  Tap is currently “pre-blend”, which handily explains occasional frustration.  Well, I know that I get frustrated easily.  But, I also know that I’m no quitter.  I haven’t quit ballet, and I’ve whined enough about it on this blog.  Now, I’ve broken even when it comes to ballet.  Tap is sure to follow.

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